Whipple disease is caused by a gram-positive bacteria, Tropheryma whippelii. This is a systemic disorder that not only involves malabsorption from the gastrointestinal tract but also affects other systems like the cardiovascular, central nervous system, joints, and vascular system. Dr. George Hoyt Whipple initially described this condition in 1907. He was the first American Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology. Dr. Whipple described a case of a 36-year-old male who presented with malabsorption associated with mesenteric lymphadenopathy, arthralgias, and skin pigmentation. The condition named by him "Intestinal Lipodystrophy," and his article was published in the Bulletin of Johns Hopkins Hospital. He hypothesized that an infectious agent was responsible, but the bacteria was only fully identified in 1992.
Whipple disease is rare, and only case reports exist in the literature.
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